Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi     1508 posts


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THE STRAIGHT PATH?

Bhagavan spoke about the way in which in the old days he used to climb to the peak [of Arunachala Mountain] at any time he felt like it, and that by any route or even no route. He said only the grass- cutters knew some of the routes he used.

“Sometimes people would come from Madras and other parts and, setting out to reach the top of the hill, would stray near Skandasramam. Finding me seated there, they would ask me for the route to the hill top. When I told them the route was to their right and turned northward, some would say. ‘Do you know who we are and wherefrom we come? We are from Madras. None of your tricks with us. The top is here straight above us and you want to lead us astray.’

I used to keep quiet. They would try to climb in a straight line, and after a long time, they would return tired out, finding that all their efforts to reach the peak were in vain. Nearing me, they would bow their heads in shame and go away, avoiding me.”

From "Day by Day", 24-11-45 Morning

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Q: While making japa for an hour or more I fall into a state like sleep. On waking up I recollect that my japa has been interrupted. So I try again.

Sri Ramana Maharshi :
`Like sleep', that is right.
It is the natural state.
Because you are now associated with the ego,
you consider that the natural state is something
which interrupts your work.
So you must have the experience repeated
until you realize that it is your natural state.
You will then find that japa is extraneous
but still it will go on automatically.
Your present doubt is due to that false identity,
namely of identifying yourself with the mind that does the japa.
Japa means clinging to one thought
to the exclusion of all other thoughts.
That is its purpose. It leads to dhyana which ends in Self-realization or jnana.

~ From ' Be as you are ' ~

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Q: It is said in Aparoksha Anubhuti that hatha yoga is a necessary aid for enquiry into the Self.
Sri Ramana Maharshi :
The hatha yogis claim to keep the body fit so that the enquiry may be conducted without obstacles.
They also say that life must be prolonged so that the enquiry may be carried to a successful end.
Furthermore there are those who use some medicines [kayakalpa] with that end in view.
Their favourite example is that the screen must be perfect before the painting is begun.
Yes, but which is the screen and which the painting ?
According to them the body is the screen and the enquiry
into the Self is the painting.
But is not the body itself a picture on the screen, the Self ?
Q: But hatha yoga is so much spoken of as an aid.

Sri Ramana Maharshi :
Yes.
Even great pandits well versed in the vedanta continue the practice of it. Otherwise their minds will not subside.
So you may say it is useful for those who cannot otherwise still the mind.

~ From Be as you are book ~

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THE SELF IS ALREADY PERFECT

Q. How can I progress?
A. Why go on pruning the ego? That is just what it wants
— to be the center of attraction!

From "Conscious Immortality"

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HUMILITY
“In fact you must become nothing…”
496 God humbly and enthusiastically worships all beings at all times as though taking upon himself for all time menial service to them. Is it not because of this that he has become privileged to receive the great and pre-eminent forms of worship performed each day by all the beings of all the worlds?
497 As devotees of God see only their own Self in everything, they behave with humility towards all of them. But since God humbles himself even before his devotees, He has attained, as his nature, that state in which there is nothing inferior to him. Is it not because of the supremacy of this extreme humility that He has attained the state of God?
Muruganar: The implication is that the proper way to attain the state of God is to remain subsided, without the ego.
On many occasions Bhagavan told me [Annamalai Swami]:
'Become envious of anyone lower than you. You must become very small. In fact you must become nothing. Only a person who is nobody can abide in the Self Bhagavan often spoke to us about the necessity of humility. On another occasion he told me, 'No one should be our inferior. One who has learned to be the inferior will become superior to all.’
Living by the Words of Bhagavan
GURU VACHAKA KOVAI

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Talk 475.
16th March, 1938
Sri Maharshi read out a news item from a paper to the following effect:
A forest guard armed with a rifle was going in the jungle and noticed two
bright spots in a thicket. On closer approach to find out what they were,
he was face to face with a huge tiger within a few yards of him. He threw
down his gun and assumed a prayerful attitude towards the jungle king.
The tiger stood up and slowly moved away without injuring him.

From "Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi"

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BHAGAVAN IN CONSCIOUS IMMORTALITY

Q: Why is it sometimes I find concentration on the Self so easy and at other times hopelessly difficult?

Bhagavan: Because of vasanas. But really it is easy, since we are the Self. All we have to do is to remember that. We keep on forgetting it, and thus think we are this body, or this ego.

If the will and desire to remember the Self are strong enough, they will eventually overcome vasanas.

There must be a great battle going on inwardly all the time until the Self is realized. This battle is symbolically spoken of in scriptural writings as the fight between God and Satan. In our Sruti, it is the Mahabharata, where the asuras represent our bad thoughts and the devas our elevating ones.

All such thoughts as ‘attainment is hard’ or Self-realization is far from me, or ‘I have many difficulties to overcome to know Reality’, should be given up, as they are the main obstacles, created by the false self, the ego. They are untrue.

Do not doubt that you are the Reality; live in that understanding.

Never question it by referring your realization of it to some future time. It is because people are victimized and hypnotized by such false thoughts that the Gita says that few out of millions realize the Self.

Give yourself up to deep meditation. Throw away all other considerations of life. The calculative life will not be crowned with spiritual success.

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' Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi '

Grace is always there. "Dispassion cannot be acquired, nor realization of the Truth, nor inherence in the Self, in the absence of Guru's Grace," the Master quoted.

Practice is necessary. It is like training a roguish bull confined to his stall by tempting him with luscious grass and preventing him from straying.

Then the Master read out a stanza from 'Tiruvachakam ' which is an address to the mind, saying: "O humming bee (namely, mind)! Why do you take the pains of collecting tiny specks of honey from innumerable flowers? There is one from whom you can have the whole storehouse of honey by simply thinking or seeing or speaking of Him. Get Within and hum to Him (hrimkara)."

(Talk 220)

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An engineer asked : " The animals seem to conform to
their own natural laws in spite of their environment and
changes. Whereas man flouts social law and is not bound
by any definite system. He seems to be degenerating
whereas the animals are steady. Is it not so ? "

Maharshi : (After a long time). The Upanishads and
scriptures say that human beings are only animals
unless they are realised beings. Possibly they are
worse also.

From Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi Talk 79
29th September, 1935

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Verses chosen by Ramana from ' Yoga Vashishta '


"Steady in the state of fullness,
which shines when all desires are given up,
and peaceful in the state of freedom in life,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!"

"Inwardly free from all desires,
dispassionate and detached, but outwardly
active in all directions,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!"

"Free from egoism, with mind detached as in sleep,
pure like the sky, ever untainted,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!"

"Conducting yourself nobly with kindly tenderness,
outwardly conforming to conventions, but inwardly renouncing all,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!"

"Quite unattached at heart but for all appearance acting as with attachment,
inwardly cool but outwardly full of fervour,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!"

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Every jiva experiences his own prarabdha,
which is catalysed by the mere Presence of Shiva
as the Witness dwelling in the heart of each one.
Hence, the jiva who does not delude himself
by thinking that he is the experiencer of prarabdha,
but knows that he is mere Existence-Consciousness,
is none but Shiva.

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With great eagerness and wonder you fly to see one Mahatma here and another Mahatma there! If you inquire, attain and know the Maha-Atma [i.e. the Great Self] within your own heart, then every Mahatma is none other than that One [within you].

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BHAGAVAN ON HIMSELF (PERUMAL CASE)
" I have not given sannyas (the status of renunciate) to any one, nor have I taken sannyas from any one. I was living in Skandashram. My mother, who was also living there, passed away in 1922. Her corpse was brought to the foot of the hill and buried here and a samadhi (shrine) was built over it. From that time puja was started here. After a while I left Skandashram and came and stayed here. At no time have I taken any title. At no time have I initiated any disciples with diksha (formal initiation) or in any ritualistic way. I do not impose any restrictions or discipline on those who gather round me. I do not invite any one to come to this place, nor do I tell any one to leave this place. By birth I am a Brahmin.
I was a Brahmachari (celibate student) when I came here (i.e. to Tiruvannamalai). Within an hour of arriving I threw away my sacred thread, clothes, etc.; I shaved my head clean. I had about three rupees and threw it away, and since then I do not touch money. I accept in my hands things that can be eaten. I do not give upadesa (spiritual instruction) or call myself a guru. However, if questions are asked by seekers I answer them. Since 1907 people have called me ' Ramana Rishi'.
I am an 'athyashrami' (beyond the ashrams and castes) not falling within the category of any of the ashrams. This state is recognized in the sastras. It is explained in the Suta Samhita. The athyashrami can own property if necessary. He needs a guru,
but the Self is my guru. The athyashrami is not bound to observe any rites. I have no desire to aquire properties, but things come and I accept them. I agree that to own property is worldly, but I do not hate the world.”

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If you are firm in your belief in the guidance of God, stick to it, and do not concern yourself with what happens around you.

(Talk 595)

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RAMANA'S TEARS

I may here record that I have noticed on more than one occasion in the past how Bhagavan could not proceed with the reading of any deeply devotional portions of Tamil works such as Thevaram and Thayumanavar. ... when touching songs were recited or read out before him, or when he himself was reading out to us poems or passages from the lives or works of famous saints, he would be moved to tears and find it impossible to restrain them.

He would be reading out and explaining some passage and when he came to a very moving part he would get so choked with emotion that he could not continue but would lay aside the book. To quote a few instances, such a thing happened when he was reading and explaining some incidents in Sundaramurti Nayanar’s life in connection with the Tiruchuzhi Mahatmyam, and also when he was reading out ‘Akarabuvanam-Chidambara Rahasyam’ in Thayumanavar’s works, and came to the twenty-fourth verse:

"Conceiving you as everything from earth to space, I shall record my thoughts on the large page of my mind, and looking at that image ever and again, I shall cry out: ‘Lord of my life, will you not come?’ Repeatedly believing myself to be You, I am unable to fix my attention on anything else. Lamenting in this way, like one whose heart is wounded, dissolving inwardly, so that tears pour down in floods, uttering deep sighs, unaware even of my body, I stand transfixed.

His [Bhagavan’s] eyes were so filled with tears and his throat so choked with emotion [as he read these words] that he had to put aside the book and break off his discourse.

- Day by Day with Bhagavan, 12th December 1945, afternoon session.

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There is no creation,
no destruction,
none bound,
none seeking,
striving,
gaining freedom.

Know that this is
the Truth supreme.

- Collected Works,
Stray verse #9

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MOSQUITOS

In ‘Day by Day with Bhagavan’ (10.5.46) Sri Devaraja Mudaliar writes about an incident that happened in Bhagavan’s hall :
One afternoon Krishna Jivrajani asked Bhagavan, “Suppose there is some disturbance during meditation like mosquito bites, should one persist in meditation and try to bear the bites and ignore the interruption or drive the mosquitoes away and continue meditation?”
Bhagavan answered, “You must do as you find most convenient. You will not attain mukti simply because you refrain from driving the mosquitoes away. The thing is to attain one pointedness and then to attain Manonasa. Whether you do this by putting up with the mosquito bites or driving the mosquitoes away is left to you. If you are completely absorbed in your meditation you will not know that the mosquitoes are biting you. Till you attain the stage why should you not drive mosquitoes away?”

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BHAGAVAN’S COMPANIONS – THE MONKEYS

Between 1899 and 1922, Bhagavan lived in a variety of caves on the Arunachala hill. The hill abounded in monkeys. Bhagavan would refer to the hill as their kingdom and humans as the intruders. Bhagavan was very intimate with the monkeys. He watched them closely, with love and sympathy. He was a jnani, a sarvajna (the Omniscient). Therefore, the love he had for all beings was natural.
He was a keen observer too. He moved closely with monkeys, understood their cries, their conduct and knew the life story of most of them. He observed that they had their own code of conduct, morals and principles of governance. He found that each tribe had its own recognized district, and if another tribe infringed on this, there would be war. But before starting a war, in order to make peace, an ambassador would be sent from one tribe to the other. Monkeys, as a rule would boycott the one that had been cared for by the humans. However, they made an exception in the case of Bhagavan. He would tell the visitors that the monkeys recognized him as one of their community, and was accepted as an arbitrator in their disputes. Whenever there was a misunderstanding or a quarrel, the monkeys would come to Bhagavan and he would find a solution to pacify them and stop their quarreling. He knew about their way of life, attitudes, priorities and their pranks too!
The people of the town called Bhagavan “Koranguswami” (Master of the monkeys) because, they were aware how much the monkeys respected and accepted him as their own. Bhagavan showed great love and compassion towards the monkeys living on Arunachala.
We have a tendency to look down on monkeys. When we refer to the mind we often compare it to a restless and mischievous monkey. However Bhagavan would always speak positively about monkeys and praise their intelligence and agility.
Bhagavan once remarked:
“I have known something about their organization, their kings, laws, regulations. Everything is so perfect and well-organised. So much intelligence behind it all. I even know that tapas is not unknown to monkeys. A monkey who we used to call ‘Mottaipaiyan’ was once oppressed and ill-treated by a gang. He went away into the forest for a few days, did tapas, acquired strength, and returned. When he came back he sat on a bough and shook it. All the rest of the monkeys, who had previously ill-treated him and of whom he was mortally afraid, were now quaking before him. Yes. I am clear that tapas is well known to monkeys.”
Here are some of the incidents reported by the Ashramites and devotees, which show how lovingly Bhagavan interacted with animals, especially with monkeys that lived on the Arunachala hill and in the Ashram.

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' A STILL MIND '

Only that mind which by practice of yoga,
having lost all its latencies,
has become pure and still like a lamp in a dome
well protected from breeze, is said to be 'dead'.
This 'death of mind' is the highest fulfillment.
The final conclusion of all the Vedas is that Liberation is nothing but mind stilled.
For Liberation nothing can avail, not wealth, relatives,
friends, karma consisting of movements of the limbs, pilgrimage
to sacred places, baths in sacred waters, life in celestial regions,
austerities however severe, or anything but a still mind.
In similar strain many sacred books teach that Liberation consists in doing away with the mind. In several passages in the Yoga Vasishta, the same idea is repeated, that the Bliss of Liberation can be reached only by wiping out the mind, which is the root cause of samsara, and thus of all misery!

Source: Advaita Bodha Deepika (3rd chapter)

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The ego submits only when it recognizes the higher power.
Such recognition is surrender; and is the same as self-control

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Your thinking that you have to make an effort to get rid of this dream of the waking state and your making efforts to attain jnana or real awakening are all parts of the dream. When you attain jnana you will see there was neither the dream during sleep, nor the waking state, but only yourself and your real state.

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The Heart is the only Reality. The mind is only a transient phase. To remain as one's Self is to enter the Heart.

Talk 252

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TWENTY-FOUR GURUS

A KING WAS passing through a forest in all pomp and pageantry, with his army and retinue behind him. He came across a man with not even a cod-piece on, lying on the ground, with one leg cocked over the other. He was laughing away, apparently supremely happy, contented with himself and all the world. The king was struck with the man’s happy state and sent for him. But when the king’s men approached the nude ascetic and delivered the king’s message, he took absolutely no notice and continued in his ascetic bliss.

On being told of this, the king himself went to the man and even then the man took no notice. Thereupon it struck the king that this must be no common man, and said, ‘Swami, you are evidently supremely happy. May we know what is the secret of such happiness and from which guru you learnt it?’

Thereupon the ascetic told the king, ‘I have had twenty-four gurus. Everything, this body, the earth, the birds, some instruments, some persons, all have taught me’. All the things in the world may be classed as either good or bad. The good taught him what he must seek. Similarly, the bad taught him what he must avoid. The ascetic was Dattatreya, the avadhuta.

- Spiritual Stories as told by Ramana Maharshi

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Dattatreya is the universal Guru, isn’t he? And he has said that the whole world was his Guru. If you look at evil you feel you should not do it. So he said evil also was his Guru. If you see good, you would wish to do it; so he said that good also was his Guru; both good and evil, he said, were his Gurus. It seems that he asked a hunter which way he should go, but the latter ignored his question, as he was intent upon his aim to shoot a bird above. Dattatreya saluted him, saying, ‘You are my Guru! Though killing the bird is bad, keeping your aim so steadfast in shooting the arrow as to ignore my query is good, thereby teaching me that I should keep my mind steadfast and fixed on Ishwara. You are therefore my Guru.’ In the same way he looked upon everything as his Guru, till in the end he said that his physical body itself was a Guru, as its consciousness does not exist during sleep and the body that does not exist should therefore not be confused with the soul — dehatmabhavana (the feeling that the body is the soul). Therefore that too was a Guru for him. While he looked upon the whole world as his Guru, the whole world worshipped him as its Guru.

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Ramana Maharshi on Mantra Japa

Question : For controlling the mind, which of the two is better, performing japa of the ajapa [unspoken] mantra or of omkar [the sound of `om']?

Ramana Maharshi: What is your idea of unspoken and involuntary japa [ajapa]? Will it be ajapa if you go on repeating with the mouth `soham, soham’ [`I am he, I am he']? Ajapa really means to know that japa which goes on involuntarily without being uttered through the mouth. Without knowing this real meaning people think that it means repeating with the mouth the words `soham, soham’ hundreds of thousands of times, counting them on the fingers or on a string of beads.

Before beginning a japa breath control is prescribed. That means, first do pranayama [regulating of breath] and then begin repeating the mantra. Pranayama means first closing the mouth, doesn’t it? If, by stopping the breath, the five elements in the body are bound down and controlled, what remains is the real Self. That Self will by itself be repeating always `aham, aham’ [`I, I']. That is ajapa.

Knowing this, how could that which is repeated by mouth be ajapa? The vision of the real Self which performs japa of its own accord involuntarily and in a never-ending stream, like the flowing down continuously of oil, is ajapa, gayatri and everything. If you know who it is that is doing japa you will know what japa is. If you search and try to find out who it is that is doing japa, that japa itself becomes the Self.

Question : Is there no benefit at all in doing japa with the mouth?

Ramana Maharshi: Who said there is no benefit? Such japa will be the means for chitta suddhi [purifying the mind]. As the japa is done repeatedly the effort ripens and sooner or later leads to the right path. Good or bad, whatever is done never goes to waste. Only the differences and the merits and demerits of each will have to be told, looking to the stage of development of the person concerned.

Question : Is not mental japa better than oral japa?

Ramana Maharshi: Oral japa consists of sounds. The sounds arise from thoughts, for one must think before one expresses the thoughts in words. The thoughts form the mind. Therefore mental japa is better than oral japa.

Question : Should we not contemplate the japa and repeat it orally also?

Ramana Maharshi: When the japa becomes mental, where is the need for the sounds? Japa, becoming mental, becomes contemplation. Dhyana, contemplation and mental japa are the same. When thoughts cease to be promiscuous and one thought persists to the exclusion of all others, it is said to be contemplation. The object of japa or dhyana is the exclusion of several thoughts and confining oneself to one single thought. Then that thought too vanishes into its source – absolute consciousness. The mind engages in japa and then sinks into its own source.

Question : The mind is said to be from the brain.

Ramana Maharshi: Where is the brain? It is in the body. I say that the body itself is a projection of the mind. You speak of the brain when you think of the body. It is the mind which creates the body, the brain in it and also ascertains that the brain is its seat.

Question : Sri Bhagavan has said that the japa must be traced to its source. Is it not the mind that is meant?

Ramana Maharshi: All these are only the workings of the mind. Japa helps to fix the mind on a single thought. All other thoughts are first subordinated until they disappear. When it becomes mental it is called dhyana. Dhyana is your true nature. It is however called dhyana because it is made with effort. Effort is necessary so long as thoughts are promiscuous. Because you are with other thoughts, you call the continuity of a single thought meditation or dhyana. If that dhyana becomes effortless it will be found to be your real nature.

Question : People give some names to God and say that the name is sacred and that repetitions of the name bestow merit on the individual. Can it be true?

Ramana Maharshi: Why not? You bear a name to which you answer. But your body was not born with that name written on it, nor did it say to anyone that it bore such and such a name. And yet a name is given to you and you answer to that name, because you have identified yourself with the name. Therefore the name signified something and it is not a mere fiction. Similarly, God’s name is effective. Repetition of the name is remembrance of what it signifies. Hence its merit.

Question : While making japa for an hour or more I fall into a state like sleep. On waking up I recollect that my japa has been interrupted. So I try again.

Ramana Maharshi: `Like sleep’, that is right. It is the natural state. Because you are now associated with the ego, you consider that the natural state is something which interrupts your work. So you must have the experience repeated until you realize that it is your natural state. You will then find that japa is extraneous but still it will go on automatically. Your present doubt is due to that false identity, namely of identifying yourself with the mind that does the japa. Japa means clinging to one thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts. That is its purpose. It leads to dhyana which ends in Self-realization or jnana.

Question : How should I carry on japa?

Ramana Maharshi: One should not use the name of God mechanically and superficially without the feeling of devotion.

Question : So mechanical repetition is unproductive?

Ramana Maharshi: Acute diseases will not be cured merely by repeating the name of the medicine but only by drinking the medicine. Similarly, the bonds of birth and death will not cease merely by doing many repetitions of mahavakyas such as `I am Siva’. Instead of wandering about repeating `I am the supreme’, abide as the supreme yourself. The misery of birth and death will not cease by vocally repeating countless times `I am that’, but only by abiding as that.

Source: from David Godman Excellent Book “Be As You are”

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